Reducing Carbon Emissions In The Supply Chain

Carbon Emissions in Supply ChainWhether you are worried about the ever-increasing cost of fuel, the availability of that fuel, or things like climate change, there are plenty of good reasons to try to decrease our carbon footprint, overall.

These are concerns that a majority of the world shares in some way as it affects all of us, and the very planet we live on.

Because of this growing concern, most companies are refocusing their efforts on reducing their own carbon emissions. This usually leads to a complete overhaul and restructuring of some parts in the supply chain which generally happens to be the area of business that most affects the amount of energy being utilized, fuels being burned, and waste accumulating.

The Benefits Of Reducing Carbon Emissions

By trying to find alternatives to some of their operational procedures, sources of energy, and waste disposal efforts, companies can drastically cut operating costs for their supply chain.

The benefit of an energy-minded business is not just in monetary gain, however.

For a business to thrive, it must follow certain regulations as set forth by state and federal law in regard to how much carbon they are permitted to release and at how frequent of a rate. By continuing efforts to keep the carbon footprint at a minimum on a daily basis, simply as a routine thing that you do, these regulations seem a lot less looming and, far less stressful.

And finally, businesses must consider who their customers are. Most people are in favor of any efforts made by those who they buy products to make an effort to reduce their waste and go a little “greener”.  For any company who serves an environmentally-minded customer base in the least, this is an absolute must.

Your customers buy from you not just because of the prices, the quality of products, or the time it takes to get to them. They buy from the companies they buy from because they trust them. By doing the right thing (and I don’t mean just going through the motions), you prove to your customers that at the end of the day, what matters the most is relationships.

Understand Your Own Carbon Footprint

Before you can put together a plan to minimize the carbon footprint you leave behind, you first have to know what areas of your supply chain are the biggest culprits and propagators of this problem.

Anytime you decide to scale something down in your business, you need to be absolutely certain that you are tackling the correct issue. Just as you can easily overspend while trying to scale your business in the wrong direction, it is even trickier when you are scaling downward.

So, take your time with this first step. Analyze your entire supply chain and draw up a process map or flowchart that includes and outlines all of the individual core roles and the resources they require that make up your supply chain from start to finish. Leave nothing out of this map. It should include every step from the moment the product is manufactured to the moment it reaches the customer's doorstep… and even how it can be disposed of.

This process map will give you a fairly good idea of what you will need to change if you hope to reduce your carbon emissions. The processes that use the most energy are the ones that you should be looking at closest. You want to determine how much energy it is consuming, what kind of energy it is, and the source of the energy.

With these areas pinpointed, you can more easily determine what needs to be minimized, where, and how.

Identify Which Energy Sources Can Be Reduced

Not all of the processes within your supply chain need to have their energy consumption reduced. As a matter of fact, there are going to be more than a few processes that you simply will not be able to alter in any logical fashion without disrupting the flow of normal operations in some way.

Take a look at your process map that you made in the first step, and start marking out any processes that you may have included that cannot be reduced. These processes would be anything that is crucial to the manufacturing of a product or the raw material that is being used in its creation.

All other areas that can be reduced in some manner are now all that you will be left with on your process map.

Focus On Areas In The Supply Chain That Need The Most Attention

Now that you have done all of your research, created a flowchart, and located the processes in your supply chain that use the most energy or generate the most waste… It is time to put all that knowledge to work.

But where is the most logical place to start this process?

Well, take a look at your process map. You have already eliminated all of the main energy-consuming processes that are vital to your business as contenders in this transition. Since those are out of the equation, you are left with only the areas in which you can begin implementing some new strategies without disrupting business.

How you actually make these changes are completely up to you and it is going to vary from business to business as it depends on what sort of supply chain integrations you are already working with.

Some business owners find it to be more logical and fitting to utilize a combination of measures such as decreasing the use of fuel while increasing the efficiency and operation of the machines being used.

However you decide to carry out this task is completely dependent upon your current operating standards and procedures. The best approach though is to implement a combination of strategies. This could take the form of doing things such as spending money on less energy intensive machinery or other lower-carbon alternatives while in-turn, seeking out better energy sources altogether.

Whatever you do, start from the top-down. In other words, focus all of your initial efforts on this biggest energy draining processes first and then work your way through your process map in that way; from largest to smallest in terms of energy consumption. A lot of times, when you approach it this way, you will find that you don’t even need to focus on the other process as the larger areas tend to have a trickle-down effect in some ways that might result in less energy consumption elsewhere down the line by proxy.

Final Thoughts

Reducing our carbon emissions and footprint upon the world is not only a smart idea for companies to start looking into… it’s just a good idea in general.

If you would like to learn how you can start making your supply chain a bit more “green”, reach out to us here at LTX Solutions and let us walk you through the process.

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